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Super League: Catalan Dragons v Leeds Rhinos preview
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Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield has recovered from injury and looks set to lead his team in Friday's trip to face Catalans Dragons.
The England captain hobbled off the field with an ankle problem during last week's impressive home win against Warrington and was initially ruled out for both the trip to Perpignan and the Rhinos' match away at Huddersfield on March 7.
However, delighted coach Brian McDermott said: "Kev recovered really well over the weekend.
"It was a reasonable twist there and a roll of his ankle. But he's responded really well to treatment and Kev is frantically doing everything he can to try and get it right for Friday.
"Our initial findings after the game meant I honestly thought it would be two weeks but he's got a chance for Friday."
Sinfield has scored in all 19 matches between Leeds and the Dragons since 2006. Stand-off Liam Sutcliffe, who impressed many when deputising for the injured Danny McGuire last season, has been added to the squad as cover.
The Rhinos did the Super League double over Friday's opponents in 2013, producing a memorable performance to win 27-12 in Perpignan at Easter, before a hard-fought 20-12 success at Headingley in Round 26.
The head-to-head between the clubs has the Rhinos ahead with 15 wins including play-off meetings, to the French club's four and the home side will have to be at their best if they are to topple the former champions.
Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous is under pressure after defeats in both their matches so far and selected a 19-man squad that excludes seven regular first-teamers.
Vincent Duport, Scott Dureau, Ben Pomeroy and Damien Cardace all miss out due to injuries, while Olivier Elima and Julian Bousquet are both serving bans. Kiwi international Louis Anderson, who arrived in Perpignan on Thursday, will not be fit for the game.
All of that means that Frayssinous has had to recall Mickael Simon, Jean-Philippe Baile and Frédéric Vaccari into the squad for what will be their seasonal debuts.
Dragons: Webb, Escaré, Pryce, Oldfield, Bosc, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Mounis, Maria, Pelissier, Whitehead, Millard, Simon, Fakir, Paea, Baitieri, Baile, Vaccari
Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield (c), Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Clarkson, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton
Kick-off is at 7pm in France but you can see all the action from Stade Gilbert Brutus on Sky Sports 1 HD at 10pm.
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 58 - 16 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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